I recently picked up my work from a shop about two hours away. It was at the urging of a friend who was also showing there that I contacted them in the first place. It's been a while since I branched out locally, and I thought why not? But the reason I stopped showing locally was that I just don't seem to sell locally. Tourists come here looking for artwork that features cows and barns. While there is nothing wrong with that sort of artwork, it is not my sort of artwork. I sell well online, and even overseas, but I don't sell well where I live.
So on last Thursday when I went to pick up my artwork and prints, I wasn't overly shocked that nothing had sold (they're a sort of souvenir art shop.) I just simply don't fit with the Vermont image. I can shake that off because sales on the home front (online) have actually been pretty good, but it's made me rethink my strategy for next year.
Part of my strategy when I reorganized my art business over a year ago was to work in a theme, build up to a show, and then move from there on to the next theme. At first I had planned on one major show a year, and I knew people were looking forward to it with plans to come in from out of town even. But then I realized that I was painting slower than I anticipated because I was actually reaching a new level with my paintings. OK, time to adjust... a show every two years! Yeah, that's the ticket! That was the new plan.
Except that picking up my stuff last week made me finally ask the question of whether having a show here, in a state where my work does not sell well, was a good idea after all? It's unlikely that I'm going to build a following here. My customers are across the globe, and it just seems that perhaps a show here in Vermont was not a well thought out plan after all.
Realizing all of that has put me into a serious funk. It's a bizarre feeling to sell three paintings in the same week that you pick up other work from a venue and find you have sold nothing. I had a split-personality art week. On the other hand, could the universe have made it any more clear? What works is extremely obvious, as is what does not. There's no waffling here, no grey area to argue about. I'm thankful for that!
Once I started rethinking the show, my first thought was "I wonder how hard it is to have a virtual art show? Is that even possible? Do people do that? Doesn't that sort of circumvent the whole idea that you can meet people and so on?" So, without much effort, I stashed that thought for something to revisit in the future. I don't know how I'd go about doing that anyway.
Alright, so what if I took my art on the road to cities with a higher population where I know some of my customers are near and did a show like that? Expensive. I'm not that successful yet, to be able to take a show on the road like that. Maybe someday.
But what about art fairs? The art fairs I have done, specially art focused (not agricultural fairs, or town festivals, or farmer's markets, etc) I have done reasonably well at. In my opinion, I was not even properly prepared for those shows either, so not bad considering.
The art fair idea has merit, and I'm going to follow it up (and figure out how and where I should be doing these shows is a whole new challenge.) I'm also going to be releasing my current theme of Alice in Wonderland for sale as I complete the pieces, rather than hanging onto them as I was for a big show. I feel it's the right thing to do for my business overall, and I already have several excited collectors who are happy about this development.
While I was reworking this show-strategy, I also looked into a few other business decisions, ran the numbers, and realized I have to do almost a complete u-turn on at least one as well that I should have caught much earlier. *face-palm* Suddenly I went from just happily painting along, to a huge to-do list that I find completely intimidating. Of course, I find my laundry completely intimidating too (I'm not entirely sure, but judging by the production levels I may have six children I don't know about, and possibly an extra husband or three.) I know well that a big list is simply a longer journey, and that every one begins with a step, and then another, and another.
My journey is just taking an unexpected turn!
So, anyone want to come over and do laundry with me?